In an effort to keep voters informed on which businesses were able to benefit from L.A.’s microloan program, Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin’s office launched a microloan tracker website at the beginning of December.
The tracker shows that of the total $11 million made available to L.A. businesses, more than $3 million in microloans went to Valley companies since March. That equates to more than 150 businesses.Funding dried up in September, according to the website.“Because it involves millions in public funds, Angelenos deserve to know exactly which businesses are benefiting, the amount they’ve received and where they are located,” Galperin said in a statement. “Full transparency will help us gauge the program’s successes and shortcomings and inform how the city allocates taxpayer dollars in the future.”The site has interactive maps, charts and graphs to break down loan amounts, business locations and industries helped by the program.Companies in the San Fernando Valley, from hard-hit businesses such as restaurants and hotels, to surprising industries seeking help including pharmacies and day care centers, received between $5,000 and $20,000 each.Poly-Med Pharmacy Inc. in Northridge received $10,000; North Hills’ Little Angels Community Preschool garnered $20,000, according to the microloan tracker. Valley companies contacted by the Business Journal declined to comment on the loans.The City’s Economic and Workforce Development Department said loans have been used primarily for payroll, rent, operating expenses and other COVID-19-related expenses.
Good news for loan recipients – the city is in the process of converting all microloans to grants.“We anticipate that all the recipients will convert to grants, which do not require repayment,” the department said in an email.These monies were created by Mayor Eric Garcetti for businesses that weren’t able to get federal dollars from the CARES Act.
It’s unclear if the program will be renewed, in light of a second federal stimulus package approved by Congress on Dec. 20. The $900 billion package offers more than $284 billion in business loan assistance, using the familiar distribution framework of the Payroll Protection Program. Federal loans will be used to help companies struggling to pay rent and workers.
“The City is constantly exploring programs that have the ability to help support our most vulnerable small businesses,” said Harrison Wollman, deputy press secretary for Mayor Garcetti’s office.“The Small Business Emergency Microloan Program has been a much-needed lifeline to small businesses in danger of shuttering during these tough economic times, but we need to do more,” Councilmember John Lee said in a statement. “At the federal level, the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program sadly missed the mark, with most of the $522 billion going to larger companies, including dozens of national chains. I hope the relief this time around will actually go to small businesses because they are foundational to a strong and thriving economy here in the San Fernando Valley.”